Gender Mainstreaming is a concept to bring women’s role to mainstream, i.e. by addressing the inequality between men and women. While the topic has some relevancy in the North it really hit me – smack in the face – when I learned about challenges faced by women in some developing countries (check out the gender gap index at the bottom of this post).
There are 4 gender-based obstacles in Microfinance and Microenterprise:
- Women lack access to banks or financial services in their own right (Men control cash income and their expenditure patterns do not support the household)
- Women undertake activities that produce low returns; women have a heavy domestic workload (Households are characterized by gender division of labor, unequal access and control of land, labor, and inputs, and unequal control of joint household produce and income streams from this)
- Women are not literate or educated; girls’ education is not prioritized (Women have a limited role in household decision-making; polygamy results in conflict, competition, and discrimination between wives; violence toward women is common)
- Women lack confidence to claim political and legal rights (Women lack legal rights to jointly owned household assets)
Source: The new Microfinance Handbook 2013
(photo by Andrea Moroni on flickr)